Title: Russia Demands Reinstatement of State Agricultural Bank in Black Sea Grain Deal
In a surprising turn of events, Russia has outlined its conditions for a possible return to the Black Sea grain deal, which it abruptly quit in July this year. The Kremlin spokesperson has declared that Russia requires its state agricultural bank, Rosselkhozbank, to be reconnected to the international SWIFT bank payments system.
As per the United Nations’ proposal, a subsidiary of Rosselkhozbank could have sought reconnection to SWIFT. However, Russia insists that the main bank must regain access in order to resume the deal. The nation claims that the current sanctions have resulted in considerable barriers for its grain and fertilizer exports, impacting port access, insurance options, logistics, and payments.
The Black Sea grain deal was initially brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July, aiming to facilitate Ukraine’s grain exports by sea despite the ongoing war, ultimately alleviating the global food crisis. However, Russia faced severe criticism for abruptly withdrawing from the agreement, with accusations of weaponizing food after bombing Ukrainian ports and grain stores shortly after the deal’s termination.
Russia’s resilient stance aligns with President Vladimir Putin’s recent meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, in which the latter advised Ukraine to redirect its grain exports to Africa instead of Europe. Ukraine, on the other hand, has strongly refused to alter its position and condemned Russia’s actions as “blackmail.”
The stark demands presented by Russia regarding SWIFT reinstatement offer insight into their determination to regain control in the Black Sea grain deal. The global community eagerly awaits further developments and negotiations, as the region’s grain export industry remains uncertain amidst the ongoing tensions in the area.
It is important to note that Russia’s conditions present a barrier to the resumption of the deal and highlight the possible impact on global food supplies. Several international actors will closely monitor the unfolding situation, with keen interest in the potential resolution of this critical issue.